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EMERGING POWERS & COOPERATION

History of the human civilization manifests that the powers have emerged and have seen their collapse. Acadians, Babylonians, Egyptians, Assyrians, Persians, ancient China, ancient Greece, Byzantine, and in near past UK, USA, China and Russia have been the ‘superpowers’.

As the famous cliche’ goes, history repeats itself, the history is repeating itself nowadays, right in front of us. The emergence of powers on global scene has now become an important hot issue, and its pros and cons are being discussed to understand the emerging powers’ policies and strategies.

For a country to emerge as a power, a stable economy and political stability are indispensable. The economy, politics and peace are interdependent and political stability guarantees better economy as well as peace. In this era of globalization, no power can emerge on the globe sans strong foreign and domestic policies to effectively address the issues while serving national interest, because whatever the scenario is, it’s all about keeping national interest on top of everything. Emerging powers are situated on important geopolitical and geostrategic locations just like BRICS nations are located on important locations.

Just like after the Big Bang, many solar systems containing planets, stars and moons emerged, many powers came to the fore after WWII and world became bipolar and continued to be so until the disintegration of the USSR. At present, the BRICS nations i.e. Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa, seem to be the emerging powers.

The emerging powers have some common things which differentiate them from others. For example, huge increase in their overall budget, especially defence budgets, huge military expansions, influencing their neighbours, economic stability, huge gold reserves along with peace and order which is essential. The emerging powers have emerging economies as well. During the past three years, the BRICS nations have increased their defence spending as follows:

Whatever their internal or regional disputes may be, they adopt a robust foreign policy to convince the world that they are peace-loving, and that they support peace and any peace initiatives across the world. Regionalism and transnational organizations have contributed a lot to the rise of new powers.

These powers remain concerned about their image internationally. As just like a tiny spark may ignite a huge fire, similarly a tiny mistake can trigger a blow to their image internationally and their emergence could be jeopardized.

A new trend that is making headways is South-South Cooperation (South Asia, South America, South Africa), that encircles almost every aspect of life i.e. cultural, economical, militarily, people-to-people, trade, and so on.

South-South Cooperation (SSC) is, in essence, an exchange of knowledge and resources in the political, economic, social, cultural, environmental or technical domains, among governments, organizations, and individuals in developing nations. It can take place on a bilateral, regional, sub-regional or interregional basis and can involve two or more developing countries.

While much of the world has been mired in financial crisis, the overall rise in South-South trade and investment flows, as well as the ongoing shift from the G-8 to the G-20 as the primary forum to tackle global economic crisis, indicates that there is more to South-South Cooperation than just sharing and learning from the practical experience of others.

In recent years, policymakers, media and academic research have been increasingly pointing to a new role of emerging countries in the world economy and in global governance. Countries such as Brazil, India, China and South Africa have a greater influence in economic as well as political matters in their regions and in world politics as well. Often labelled as ‘regional powers’, middle powers’ and ’emerging powers’, these countries are widely regarded as pivotal states in international relations. The reasons for the increased power to these states are their demographic and geographic size, their economic and military capacities and their political aspirations.  In addition, they have been increasingly articulating their willingness to lead in regional as well as global governance in recent years.

The UNDP Special Unit for South-South Cooperation (SU/SSC), established by the UNGA in 1978, has the primary mandate to promote, coordinate and support South-South and Triangular Cooperation on a global and UN system-wide basis. The Unit receives policy directives and guidance from the General Assembly High-Level Committee on South-South Cooperation (HLC) which is a committee of the whole and a subsidiary body of the GA that reviews world-wide progress in South-South Cooperation.

It is believed to represent a significant proportion of development assistance programmes of some Southern contributors such as Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Egypt, India, Malaysia, Republic of Korea, South Africa, Singapore, Thailand, Tunisia and Turkey. Though some peace-related issue are there in these emerging powers, these powers seem to be working to resolve them softly and politically, otherwise their emergence will be at great stake.

The emerging powers can contribute a lot to this world and they have great potential and opportunities and the whole world is looking towards them as they are growing giants especially in economic and militarily means. The rich diversity of the South and emerging powers provides an excellent opportunity for forging mutually beneficial partnerships to work towards economic growth, industrial development and poverty reduction.

By: Suleman Khan

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